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November 19, 2018

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Strip Scribbles: Silver State Awards, Elton John’s new CD, iCandy and ‘Housewives’


Former Las Vegas Mayor Jan Jones Blackhurst speaks during a Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce Business Power Luncheon at the Rio Wednesday, May 8, 2013. She was honored with the chamber’s Free Enterprise Award. Jones Blackhurst is executive vice president of communications & government relations for Caesars Entertainment.

3/15/11: Celine Dion at The Colosseum

Celine Dion's opening night at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace on March 15, 2011. Launch slideshow »

Sir Elton John

The prestigious Silver State Awards that recognize excellence are tonight, and former Las Vegas Mayor Jan Jones will be presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award. I have the honor of joining Clark County Commissioner Lawrence Brown to make the presentation and then the showdown of Celine Dion, “Jersey Boys” and Cirque du Soleil’s “O” and “Ka” vying for Best Production Show on the Strip.

More than 300 prominent Nevada residents will honor nominees and winners in 36 Arts, Leisure, Hospitality and Entertainment categories at Summerlin Performing Arts Center. Sen. Harry Reid and TV journalists Jessica Moore, Nina Radetich, Dayna Roselli, Chris Saldana and John Huck also are presenters at the televised people’s choice-themed award. Congresswoman Dina Titus said: “It’s important we take time to recognize the accomplishments of those who have contributed to making Las Vegas a better community for us all. No one deserves it more than Jan Jones. She is truly an icon of this community.”

ELTON’S NEW ALBUM: Caesars Palace headliner Sir Elton John has announced his first solo album in seven years. Titled “The Diving Board,” it’s set for release Sept. 24 to tie into his Sept. 18 return to The Colosseum through Oct. 12. The 66-year-old entertainer knighted by the Queen of England said: “It’s the most adult record I can make at my age. It’s got everything I love about American music with gospel, soul and country.”

The record is produced by T. Bone Burnett. Elton explained the unusual title in the black-and-white teaser video released today: “I had to go back to go forward again for the kind of music I really want to make. I’m on the diving board.” He also joked about his longevity as a pianist: “I’m just heading toward being 80 years old and playing at the Holiday Inn.”


New investors have stepped in to save the under-funded iCandy Burlesque, which closed two weeks ago at Saxe Theater in Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. The show was great, but the main investor’s promises fell way short and never materialized. As a result, there was no advertising or promotion, and the talented cast who got stiffed on their paychecks became the unknown jewel of the Strip.

“It was tough to see it fold in ruins,” I was told. “To help mend years-long broken relationships and what was owed to everybody, dancers even divided up the scenery and costumes. It ran on three wheels from the start.”

Now comes word of new proper funding, the ouster of the original backer and a possible move to the Plaza. That should put threatened lawsuits against the backer, who is already facing other court liens, on hold.

My inside source added: “It’s all been restructured, so everything is positive. Plans for a reality TV show and a lingerie boutique line can now all go forward sanely, and back monies owed to cast members and producers should repair what was broken. People put their heart and soul into the project and turned out an amazing show; their talent was awesome. It just became very frustrating that there never was any promotion.”

Opening Night of 'ICandy Burlesque: the Show'

Opening night of Launch slideshow »

'Bar Rescue' Transforms Gipsy

An after shot of Gipsy on Paradise Road, now SBLV (South Beach Las Vegas), after a makeover courtesy of Spike TV's Launch slideshow »

Rita Rudner's Welcoming at The Venetian

Rita Rudner's welcoming ceremony at The Venetian on Jan. 11, 2011. Launch slideshow »

REALITY BURLESQUE: “The Real Housewives of New York” star Sonja Morgan might be headed to the Strip with her own burlesque act. My longtime Manhattan socialite friend who divorced J.P. Morgan private banking heir John Adams Morgan debuted the show with her 40 backup dancers wearing little more than white ostrich feather fans and tiny underwear in the Hamptons.

Now a self described 49-year-old cougar, Sonja told New York gossips at the Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth fundraiser that her friends Steve Wynn and wife Andrea have invited her here when she wants to perform.

BAD BLUES: The third season of Spike TV’s hit series “Bar Rescue” continues with new episodes July 7 with host and renowned bar and nightlife consultant Jon Taffer hitting Sin City to put his skills to work at a Las Vegas blues bar. Jon does his best to try to save the once famous bar, but the moment he takes a closer look, he instantly realizes how bad things truly are. Jon, who presents his Bar and Nightclub Convention here every spring, launches his “On the Rocks” three-day, 20-plus nightclub, eight-pool party extravaganza July 12.

You can read my interview with Jon posted Feb. 27. He admits: “My brash approach may ruffle feathers along the way, but we pull no punches and value bottom lines above hurt feelings. Those owners and employees that stand in the way of success are urged to check their egos at the door or are shown the door.”

DAILY PROGRESS: The new SLS hotel coming to life at the former Sahara is now producing a daily video blog of its progress as construction moves at a rapid pace. Each day, the blog will be updated with the building progress, plus, stories from sister properties across the country and highlights of the tasty experiences the Las Vegas property will offer.

UPCOMING DATES: Keep Memory Alive Chairman Larry Ruvo has chosen July 19 and 20 to throw open his Shakespeare Ranch on Lake Tahoe for a rodeo and celebrity chef dinner with Emeril Lagasse to raise funds for our Downtown Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. The Glenbrook Rodeo was discontinued in 1965, but Larry and wife Camille resurrected it in 2000. Now the annual event, which features bull riding, barrel racing, carnival games, a barbecue and performances, serves as a fundraiser for our clinic serving Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other memory disorder patients.


Comedienne Rita Rudner returns for one night at The Venetian.

To celebrate the fourth anniversary of Nashville Unplugged, songwriter and hosts Brian Comas and Aaron Benward have a free performance at Red Rock Resort to film a new TV pilot, “The Story Behind the Song,” with Paul Overstreet and Danny Myrick, who’ve written for Kenny Chesney and Jason Aldean.

British star DJ Bar9 is at Beauty Bar.

Jeff Dye, Carrie Snow and Taylor Williamson are the three comedy headliners at The Improv in Harrah’s through Sunday.

My pals Craig and Corey Nyman host an Instagram Instagrub party at N9NE Steakhouse in the Palms, and winning food photo takers receive comped dinners.


A preview of Celine’s first Strip production of gal pal Veronic’s singing impersonation show, plus, an interview and a photo gallery with the supermodel winner of VH1’s “Model Employee” at Mandalay Bay reality and the formation of an Entertainment Council to focus on the harsh economic realities of dwindling audiences and unprofitable ticket discounting because of booming nightclubs.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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